Kenya to Lease 31 Coal Blocks as it Eyes Cheaper Energy
From Coal Guru
Kenya is set to create 31 new coal exploration blocks this month to be leased to prospective investors through competitive bidding as the country pushes for diversification of energy sources to meet growing demand for power.
According to estimates from the Ministry of Energy, the acreage will be gazetted this month by the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources. Two of the blocks C and D, which are already mapped and leased out are thought to have more than 400 million tonnes of coal reserves valued at KES 3.4 trillion. The 31 new blocks are expected to have much more than this.
Coal is considered a cheap source of energy and the Ministry of Energy said if found to be commercially viable, some of the coal will be used in the cement and steel industries which are estimated to be spending at least KES 4 billion annually in coal imports. Kenya spends at least KES 14 billion annually on importation of 150 tonnes of coal.
The government also hopes to use coal as a substitute for power from the national grid as one way of reducing the country’s reliance on electricity, which currently does not match demand. Over reliance on hydropower dams has in the past led to rationing during times of drought and the growing demand has stretched the infrastructure of state utility firms.
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